Zac Brown Band to Headline MerleFest 2017

Roots festival's first round of performers includes Jim Lauderdale, Del McCoury Band and others

Zac Brown Band will unplug and play acoustic instruments when they headline MerleFest 2017. Credit: Tibrina Hobson/WireImage

MerleFest turns 30 years old next April, and the springtime roots-music summit is pulling out the big guns for its 2017 edition.

Topping next year's lineup is mainstream country juggernaut Zac Brown Band, whose members will leave their amplifiers at home and, in keeping with the festival's bluegrass roots, perform an acoustic set. Bluegrass traditionalist Del McCoury, Americana journeyman Jim Lauderdale, Newgrass pioneer Sam Bush, Dobro master Jerry Douglas, road warrior Peter Rowan and acoustic innovators Mountain Heart will also perform during the festival weekend, which launches April 27th and runs until the 30th. As always, the shows will take place at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, nestled into the same Blue Ridge Mountain foothills that helped inspire much of America's folk music tradition.

Although specific time slots have yet to be announced, Zac Brown Band will close out the festival on Sunday night, with the Del McCoury Band slated to kick off the weekend on Thursday. Other acts are scheduled to make multiple appearances, with Sam Bush Band and Jerry Douglas both performing sets on Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, Lauderdale is slated to become the festival's busiest weekend warrior, thanks to a three-day residency that will find him hitting the stage on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

MerleFest 2017's full lineup will be unveiled in the coming months, rounding out an initial announcement that also includes acts like Chatham County Line, Locust Honey String Band, Roanoke, 10 String Symphony and the Bryan Sutton Band. For a complete, current list of performers, as well tickets, visit the festival's website at MerleFest.org.